Email effects bottom line

By Fallon Forbush

iStock_000016467380XSmall My email inbox reached maximum capacity last week, and I had thought about keeping it that way. Not deleting any items so that I couldn’t receive any more email was liberating.

Then reality set in and I cleared out my folders, continuing on the endless chain of communication that has become the staple of the way the working world communicates. We all know that email is a must, but what you may not know is that the way you email can make or break you.

How can emailing go wrong? Your email etiquette is just as important as how you dress on the job; both are a direct reflection of who you are.

Amanda Moore, the outside sales and marketing representative for PIP Printing and Marketing Services, wrote about an email experience in her Marketing for Tomorrow blog:

“I received two emails this week that caught my attention for two drastically different reasons. The first was from a job applicant who was submitting a resume. Although my company has no job openings right now, I opened the attachment because his email was so well written. The applicant had perfect grammar, spelling, addressed me personally, and took the time to do some research on my company. As I read the email, I felt as if this job seeker knew me, my business, and what I was looking for in an employee. Unfortunately, I do not have a position to offer him but you can bet I am keeping his resume. The second email was forwarded to me by a friend and actually was a marketing email from a competitor of mine. I have never seen a more unprofessional email. The email had purple font, grammar mistakes, spelling issues, illegal use of ellipsis, capitalization mistakes, random poetry-like indentations all over the place, and exclamation point abuse. My first impression was that I would never do business with this person”.

Perhaps you know better and make sure your emails are as professional as you are in the office, but do you forward annoying chain messages? Save the junk mail for your private accounts. Otherwise, people will resent you for making them sift through more emails than they already have to. It makes you look unprofessional and may result in your emails getting automatically deleted, even when they aren’t junk.

Mixing personal matters with your company email can have its consequences. Check out this video segment from the Today Show.

Even for the most well-mannered emailer, there are a few tips to be more effective.

Do you remember the last time your inbox wasn’t saturated with endless messages? If you actually want your emails to be read, you can’t neglect the power of the subject line. About.com offers great advice on how to write precise subject lines that don’t waste peoples’ time. Honestly, did you think “Hi” or “Meeting” actually works well?

Emails are informal, but failure to include a greeting and a closing can come off as cold and your communication will be less effective. Ehow.com suggests different greetings for certain people.

Perhaps before even thinking of composing an email, think about what you’re doing. It’s always easy to shoot off an email, but what is it accomplishing? When composing emails, Oprah suggests taking 10 seconds to evaluate whether or not email is the best way to say what you need.

For more, Lydia Ramsey, business etiquette expert, has a lot to say about the top email faux pas.

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